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Standing on the shoulders of giants SoundScape explores the NAS membership archives and discovers a Hall of Fame Fifty-two years ago, the proliferation of noise making engines and equipment brought 20 erudite thinkers together with a common aim. John Connell OBE, founder of the NAS, convened a National Council to protect "the sensitive, the intelligent, the sick and the aged" against the ravages of noise - "the forgotten pollutant". The health, safety and intellect of society were eminently represented by leading minds of the time. But who were these people of action who, in just one year, managed to get the Noise Abatement Act 1960 passed?Our records show that the founding members included, amongst others: Consulting physician Sir Walter Fergusson HannayEntrepreneur John Connell OBE Poet Laureate and broadcaster Sir John Betjeman CBENobel Prize winner and poet T. S. Eliot Barrister and Deputy Commissioner ofthe Metropolitan Police Sir Ronald Howe CVO MCMedical Offi cer of Health Dr John Lancelot BurnAviation and motor company president and chairmanSir Miles Thomas DFCRoyal portrait painterSir Gerald Kelly Architect, author and acoustician Hope Bagenal OBE Film director Maurice Elvey The Reverend Hon. Andrew Elphinstone Author, playwright and gardenerBeverley NicholsPolitician, author and journalistRoy Bradford Surgeon and ENT specialistJohn Chalmers Ballantyne CBEThis illustrious and determined company refused to accept that intrusive, incessant noise was the price to be paid for progress. They had lived and breathed the devastation of wars and smogs, and would not let noise become the next scourge of the British landscape and people. Their passion was perhaps no more evident than when, in an effort to once and for all hold policy makers to account they, with journalists and photographers in tow, 'doorstepped' aviation minister Duncan Sandys CH PC in the very early hours one morning - waking him with a crashing din. When he came angrily to the door in his bath robe to confront the protestors, he was met by NAS founder John Connell OBE who remarked (to the effect of): 'How does it feel to be awoken in the middle of the night by noise not of your making?' With no doubt more than a little chagrin, Sandys fulfi lled on his pre-general election promise to back the proposed new noise abatement legislation and also stop night fl ights. Sense and sensibilityArtists, writers and musicians have long supported the work of the NAS, as so beautifully put by founding member T.S. Eliot in "The Dry Salvages" from Four Quartets,"Where shall the word be found, Where shall the word Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence" However, it was not just for art's sake that T.S. Eliot was aligned with the NAS, but for the bigger picture. Chillingly illustrated by his portentous remark in 1939 in The Idea of a Christian Society "We are being made aware that the organisation of society on the principle of private profi t, as well as public destruction, is leading both to the 52 years ago NAS founder, John Connell OBE, convened a National Council to protect "the sensitive, the intelligent, the sick and the aged" against the ravages of noise - "the forgotten pollutant" SoundScapeIssue 02 30

deformation of humanity by unregulated industrialism, and to the exhaustion of natural resources, and that a good deal of our material progress is a progress for which succeeding generations may have to pay dearly." Original local heroesDr John Lancelot Burn, Medical Offi cer of Health to the City of Salford (1941-1969) was a proactive member of the Society who made a lasting impact in the fi eld of public health with his prolifi c endeavours. According to The British Medical Journal, 13 January 1973, "His activities in preventative medicine, apart from the environmental aspect . included such well known activities as his anti-smoking clinic and obesity clinic, the development of mental health services, the attachment of local authority staff to general practitioners, the use of nursing staff to carry out immunizations, screening clinics and . a host of pioneering activities too numerous to mention." The acclaimed ear, nose and throat surgeon and polymath John Chalmers Ballantyne CBE advised the NAS as a founding member. His obiturary in The Times eloquently noted "His love of music deepened his sense of wonder at the anatomy and physiology of the human hearing apparatus" and "In 1978, he co-authored an infl uential report on cochlear implantation which paved the way for the development of the devices by the Medical Research Council and their later adoption by the Department for Health and Social Security (DHSS)."We have much to thank our forebears for. With perseverance and foresight, they fought for legislation that still protects the public today. These sensitive, creative campaigners understood the physical and psychological effects of noise and sought to protect public peace, amenity and wellbeing, which just 15 years after the Second World War, was as great a treasure as could be. Sound futureBuilding upon its proud heritage, today the Society continues to be well advised and supported by a wide and diverse range of experts from science, academia and industry, for which it remains continually grateful. The Society is also a member of the International Organisation for Standardization TC 43/SC1/Working Group 54 on Perceptual Assessment of Soundscape Quality and the EU funded COST network TD0804 on the Soundscape of European Cities and Landscapes.Working to our founding members' shared goals NAS' current campaigns are based on responses to our helpline calls, public health concerns and playing our part to preserve and build upon its unique and inspiring foundations. From the top: Statue of English Poet Laureate and NAS fouding member Sir John Betjeman (1906-84) at St Pancras station; Woken in the early hours of the morning by John Connell OBE (r), aviation minister Lord Duncan Sandys (l) quickly understood the distress caused to those disturbed by night and early morning fl ights; Anglo-American Nobel Prize winning poet and NAS founding member TS Eliot (1888-1965)The NAS relies solely on donations and welcomes new members to join its endeavours. For more details, visit www.noiseabatementsociety.com31SoundScapeIssue 02